At church, recently, a guest preacher announced that he would speak on a subject that is often avoided in church. “Today I’m going to give you hell,” he said. He reminded us that the Bible says more about hell than it does about heaven. The book of Luke is filled with parables of Jesus, but when we begin to read in the sixteenth chapter, verse 19, Jesus is talking about a true happening in which a person is named. The speaker proceeded with his sermon in which the emphasis was that Jesus, himself said there is a hell.
In Bible days the Pharisees believed wealth to be proof of a person’s righteousness. But here was Jesus himself talking about a beggar, Lazarus, who was in heaven and a rich man in hell. Abraham was with Lazarus. A diseased beggar is rewarded and a rich man is punished. While the rich man was alive he didn’t have time for the Scriptures or to listen to the prophets and he hadn’t had time for the beggar and had not offered him help, but now the rich man is asking Lazarus, the poor man, for help. They are able to see each other. But, there was a huge chasm between them and it was too late to honor his request. The rich man’s request was, would Abraham allow Lazarus to dip his finger in water and let just a drop of water drip on his tongue to cool him. Just a drip of water was all he requested. Why? Because his agony was so great in the fire of hell.
The chasm kept this from taking place and Abraham said it was there to keep those unable to go to the rich man’s side and to keep anyone from crossing over from the other side. Then we see some evangelism taking place. The rich man asked Abraham to let Lazarus go to his father’s house for he had five brothers. He thought if they saw Lazarus, raised from the dead, they would believe and would not come to the same place of torment where he was. Abraham knew even this would not change their minds, they had Moses and the prophets to whom they didn’t listen, and someone rising from the dead would not convince them either.
Today, there is a cross that delivers us from hell, just as it did in Jesus’ day. Jesus knew that even when he had risen from the dead, people would not accept him. They were set in their ways and neither Scripture, nor God’s Son himself, would shake them loose from their unbelief. The rich man may not have believed there was a hell until he got there. Then it was too late.
What made this preacher so adamant to tell others about the truth of hell? He recalled that as a child he frequently heard about hell in his church and when at night he would repeat the “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Prayer.” he felt scared about going there. He said that for him to withhold this information would be for a doctor to keep information from a sick person, who would die because he had not told his patient of their condition and began treatment for it. This preacher knows that God says what he means and means what he says. What are your thoughts on the subject of hell? Should it be avoided?